A registered sex offender has been charged with the murder and kidnapping of an 8-year-old girl who disappeared from Walmart.

56-year-old Donald James Smith is accused of abducting Cherish Lilly Perrywinkle from a Walmart in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday night. The girl's body was found the next morning in a wooded area near a church.

It's a truly horrific case with even more disturbing details…

Read more ¿Qué más?: 5-year-old girl dies after accidentally shooting herself when mom leaves her home alone (VIDEO)

Apparently, Perrywinkle's mother, Rayne, was shopping at the Dollar General with Cherish and her two younger children when Smith approached them. Rayne had just been telling her daughter she couldn't afford a new dress for her, which the young girl wanted for an upcoming visit with her father. That's when Smith reportedly offered to help.

He claimed his wife had a Walmart gift card that the mom could use to buy food and clothing and even drove the entire family to the store in his van. Perrywinkle's mom has since admitted she felt something was "creepy" about Smith while riding in the van and that he started following the family around while they were shopping. Huh?! Why in the world would this woman ever put herself and her kids in danger by allowing some total stranger to drive them around? And why didn't she report him after she started to get suspicious?

At one point, the mother told police Smith said he was going to McDonald's. She reportedly did not realize that her daughter was going with him. At around 11 p.m., she called police to report that Perrywinkle was missing. Cops pulled over Smith's van Saturday morning, hours before locating the girl's body.

Smith was convicted of attempted kidnapping in 2003 and attempted child abuse in 2012. He was released from jail less than a month before he allegedly kidnapped Perrywinkle. He is now being held without bail, but has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

I have no idea what could've possibly possessed the mom to think it was safe to accept this man's help. Maybe she was desperate or just wanted to believe that he really was that kind. It's impossible to know. Whatever the case, I wish she had taken more caution. I mean, how was 8-year-old Perrywinkle supposed to know not to trust this man when her own mom was the one who had let him into their lives?  

The whole thing is just heartbreaking. Smith was obviously an incredibly dangerous man that probably shouldn't have been let out of jail in the first place. I only hope that now he FINALLY gets the punishment he deserves and is put behind bars for the rest of his life. In the meantime, my heart goes out to Perrywinkle's family.

Image via Florida Department of Law Enforcement

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Michelle Regalado is a Staff Writer at MamásLatinas. She loves reading, travel, pop culture, and writing about anything and everything.

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nonmember avatar
This story has so many inconsistencies. When the mother called the police she told the dispatcher (According to firstcoastnews.com that "At 11:19 p.m. Friday, dispatchers got their first call from Cherish's mother. According to the incident recap, she says she met a man at the Dollar General and rode with him to the Lem Turner Road Walmart and described what he and her daughter look like. Then she told the dispatcher that the man took Cherish into the dressing room twice. The log doesn't explain why. Minutes later, Rayne went on to say that the man was giving Cherish too much attention and wanted to buy her daughter high heels." So the man had the child in the dressing room TWICE, to the mothers own admittance! They are now looking for the stroller as a key piece of evidence. I believe they are looking for fingerprints. Rayne Perrywinkle according to duvalclerk.com has been arrested previously as well as changing her name. The father, who lives in CA has been fighting for custody of the child for years but the judge didnt think it was right to taker the child away from her mother because she would never be able to visit her in CA. Ironically, Cherish was leave the very next day to .
nonmember avatar
spend time with her father! So that leaves me to question WHY was she out at 11pm the night before a huge trip? I have a theory about what happened and I believe the mother was angry. She got tired of hearing Cherish talk about how excited she was. She was tired of hearing Cherish want to look pretty for her dad, and perhaps how she would like to live with her dad. I think mom snapped. I think theres a lot of unanswered questions. I do know, according to another news report here in Jacksonville (where I live) that Cherish missed 18 days of school in a semester/grading period. The video stills have not been released so did Cherish walk out of Walmart with Smith or was she dragged? How did Smith and Perrywinkle meet up at Dollar General? WHY would Rayne Perrywinkle allow Smith to take her daughter into the dressing room TWICE? (But she kept an eye on the other two little girls.....coincidence?)
nonmember avatar
Something smells rotten about this entire case, and the mother still has not been seen, spoken to reporters or thanked the public. I know people grieve in different manners but she is having her boyfriend speak for her and there are such HUGE discrepancies in the stories. No one just gets into a van with a stranger and then allows him to walk into a dressing room with her, much less walk away with her. Children are to be PROTECTED, cherished and loved no matter what your social class. NO EXCUSES.
nonmember avatar
It is still under investigation so we are only speculating off of what we already have heard. Donald Smith is not talking to the police. The mother does hold some responsibility in this death of her child however the predator is the main culprit. I being a mother keep my eyes on my daughter 24/7.I don't even allow her to go to daycare or off with family or friends anywhere.She is my responsibility alone. Cherish did not deserve this to happen to her but, it did unfortunetly. As a community, we must pull together and look after our children and protect them from such guile. REST IN PARADISE CHERISH.
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